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What are the Different Types of Heirloom Potatoes?

By Misty Amber Brighton
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are dozens of types of heirloom potatoes, which are spuds that have not been genetically altered. These vegetables can be white, yellow, purple, blue, or red in color. Some types are best suited for certain uses, like boiling, baking, or frying. Some common unaltered varieties include yukon gold, arran victory, forty-fold, and gillyflower, to name a few.

Yukon gold potatoes normally have thick, yellow skin that can sometimes appear to be oily or waxy. The flesh color may be white, yellow, or cream-colored. They are normally rather large potatoes that have a buttery taste to them. This makes this variety a good choice for baking, boiling, or mashing.

Heirloom potatoes that are good for making casseroles include the arran victory. This spud normally has a dark purple skin and stark white flesh. They were often enjoyed by the upper-class citizens of the United States during a period known as the Great Depression. They can normally be stored for up to several weeks in a cool, dry location.

Forty-fold is a variety that originated in England. It normally produces tubers there in mid to late September. These potatoes are usually medium-sized, round, and fairly uniform in size and shape. The skins are often white, but can also sometimes be red. They are a good choice for baking or canning.

Gillyflower potatoes are normally white or tan with a white interior. They are often long and oval-shaped, or round. They are usually large spuds that may be flat on one or both sides. This variety is typically very dry, so it may taste best when fried in oil or cooked with butter.

Bees are normally needed to pollinate heirloom potatoes. White flowers usually appear on most varieties in early to mid-summer. This is then followed by the spuds themselves, which are usually ready for harvest in early to mid-fall depending on the location.

Heirloom potatoes are grown by planting seed potatoes that can be purchased from a farm or garden supply store. These are, in fact, regular potatoes that have been harvested especially for replanting. A gardener can cut these spuds into smaller pieces that each contain two or three eyes, which are the inverted dots on the outer skin. These can then be placed in the ground with the eyes facing up, so a new plant can sprout and produce a new crop.

Potatoes that are sold in supermarkets are often sprayed with a chemical to keep them from sprouting. Farmers may also use a number of pesticides on their crops during the growing season. People who plant their own heirloom potatoes can avoid consuming vegetables that might be contaminated with harmful chemicals. This might provide health benefits as well as a better tasting product.

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Discussion Comments

By Hazali — On Oct 17, 2014

While it would be rather easy to buy heirloom potatoes at the store, I like how the article goes into detail about what one needs to do if they plan to use them in a garden. While it's true that potatoes take a lot of work to grow, and that depending on the kinds that you're growing, the process might be different, this article is a great read if you're interested in vegetables.

I don't know about anyone else, but it's getting me even more interested. In fact, reading this article reminds me of a place I used to go to when I was a kid, known as - The Garden Club. Every Saturday, my family and I would go there and help an organization with planting vegetables, while learning how to do so as well.

The best part about all this was that once some of the vegetables had grown, we were allowed to take them home and use them for our cooking. This organization is what got me interested in gardening in the first place.

If things like this intrigue you as well, might I suggest you see if there's an organization near you? While many people do complain that gardening is a lot of hard work, on the other hand, one of the best benefits is that you don't have to worry about pesticides, among other things.

By RoyalSpyder — On Oct 17, 2014

@Euroxati - I agree, and you make some very good points as well. While it's true that chemicals could help vegetables in the long run (especially with the prevention of bugs and insects), it could do more harm for us, than good.

After all, humans aren't meant to ingest those chemicals. I'd also like to add, I think that the problem with all of this lies in the fact that it can apply to other products as well.

While there are plenty of food items which are "natural", due to the interference of man, who are always trying to improve things or add their own touch, we destroy what was naturally given to us.

On another note, this is a great article that goes into great detail about heirloom potatoes. Since I always use potatoes in my cooking, I know that they have a lot of variety, but definitely not to this extent.

As an example, the third paragraph makes note of the fact that heirloom potatoes are good or making casseroles. Considering how I always use red potatoes for potato salad, this actually comes as a surprise. Perhaps I'll consider this next time, during the Holidays.

Overall, this article really shows you that when it comes to food, vegetables in particular, not only is there a lot more variety than you think, but even more so, some of them work better in other dishes, while others don't.

By Euroxati — On Oct 16, 2014

Even though I do enjoy potatoes as much as the next person, does anyone else feel like producers, especially those who grow the potatoes, are ruining them?

Maybe it's just me, but with all the chemicals that are added in order to prevent any contamination, not only is it harming us when we eat the potatoes, but it's also damaging the vegetables as well.

After all, that's not how they were meant to be grown. Even the first paragraph notes that there are some potatoes which have been genetically altered.

However, the best example the article uses is in the last paragraph, where it talks about the prevention of sprouting. I hope I don't sound too paranoid, but it's definitely something interesting to think about.

After all, not only are we unsure of how long this practice has been going on, but in the future, they may even use stronger chemicals, which could have better results in the vegetables, but worse results for us.

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